Back on the Moors

Despite moving to part-time work at the end of February I’ve been so busy that I’ve fallen well behind with writing up what I’ve been up to. There’s definitely more to life than working and I’m trying to make the most of my increased “free time” to get out and do more stuff that I enjoy. The problem then is finding the time to write it up! I’ll have to find a solution as writing up these posts allow me to look back and remember what I’ve been up to!

So, back in May a couple of weeks after my “Hebridean adventure” I managed to get up on the West Pennine Moors for a wander. I parked up at Rivington and then made my way over past Moses Cocker’s farm

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and then took a path on to the moor. It was a grey morning but it was still good to get back onto familiar territory to stretch my legs and breathe in the, hopefully, fresh air.

The usual locals were out and about keeping an eye on me

Views soon opened up

as I made my way to the ruined farm known as “Old Rachel’s”

I stopped for a rest to refuel as my blood sugar had dropped, and took in the views. An elderly runner ambled past. I was intrigued as he was wearing wellies rather than the flimsy shoes normally worn by runners on the moors and fells. Two female runners, wearing more conventional footwear, came speeding along a little later. I have to admire their energy and dedication but I prefer a much gentler pace where I can enjoy the scenery and spend time thinking great thoughts!

I carried on following the path to Lower Hempshaw’s

Given the recent rain, I decided I’d not carry on towards Hordern Stoops, the path is notoriously muddy at the best of times, but to follow the track northwards. Just the day before I’d read a post by Michael of the Rivendale Review who had been up on the moors and had ventured up on to Redmond and Spitler’s Edges by taking a path that branched off the track a little further along from Henshaw’s, just where it veers off left towards the ruined farm at Simm’s. I’d taken this track some years ago and found that after a while it petered out and I’d had to make my way through the heather and bracken. It was very different this time. Many other feet must have passed this way since then as there was now a clear path that carried on up to Redmond’s Edge. It was muddy in places so a little “bog hopping” was required.

Although only a few miles from “civilisation” up here it’s real desolate, lonely “wild and windy” moorland.

And being moorland, after a rainy period the peat was sodden. As I made my way towards Great Hill I was thankful for the flagstones that had been laid down otherwise I would have been walking through a quagmire. It was certainly wet as the flagstones were flooded in places and I had to navigate some muddy patches where the flags had sunk into the peat. But the going was generally good.

I climbed to the top of Great Hill and stopped for a while for another bite to eat. It was windy so I was thankful of the stone shelter.

Long rang visibility was poor, so no views over to the mountains of the Lakes, Snowdonia and Yorkshire Dales, but I could make out Pendle Hill to the north east.

After a brief rest I set off down the path off the summit towards White Coppice. Before reaching Drinkwater’s I turned off down the path towards the ruins of Great Hill farm

and then doubled back heading east before re-joining the path along the ridge and heading towards Horden’s Stoops

Coming down off the Edge I could hear distinctive peewit call of a lapwing. I stopped and watch two of the birds performing their acrobatics before flying off across the moor. A sound and a sight that lifts the heart!

Passing the source of the River Yarrow I headed west for a short distance along the Rivington to Belmont Road before joining the old Belmont Road, these days a rough track, which I followed back towards Rivington.

The view over to Great Hill, Redmond’s Edge and Spitler’s Edge form the Old Belmont Road

Reaching the Pigeon Tower

I made my way down through the Terraced Gardens back to my car.

The Seven Arch Bridge in Rivington terraced Gardens

Here’s the route (also available here)

Back on the moors again

Last Thursday it was too nice to stay stuck indoors staring at a computer screen so I decided to drive over to White Coppice and get up on the moors. My recent foray onto the Kinder Plateau had reminded me of the wild West Lancashire Pennine moors – although Kinder is higher and has more Millstone grit outcrops and rock formations, it’s very similar. I’d grown up trampling on these moors and always enjoy being up there, whatever the weather. But Thursday was a sunny day and less likely to be a quagmire underfoot!

I expected there would be quite a few people tramping up the main path up Great Hill from the hamlet so I decided on a less frequented route, up the clough (pronounced cluff), the narrow valley in the hillside, and along the Black Brook. As the water level was relatively low, followed the brook rather than the easier path a little above the water, which involved some easy scrambling, but a little more challenging than normal!

The lower sections of the brook show the influence of humans. This was an industrial landscape at one time – stone quarrying and mining for lead – and there’s still plenty of evidence of it’s history as you follow the brook.

There’s an entrance to an old lead mine in the side of the hill

After a while the valley starts to level off

and the summit of Great Hill becomes visible across the heather and bracken.

I left the clough and followed the path that took me up on tot he main path up towards the summit.

Passin the ruined farm of Drinkwaters

This is probably one of my favourite views – it brings back so many memories of walks up here when I was a teenager.

Carrying on up to the summit

It was a bright sunny day but long range visibility was poor. A pity as it’s an excellent viewpoint on a good day with views in every direction. There’s Darwen tower and Pendle Hill. I could just make out the Lake District Mountains, Ingleborough and the Snowdonia range in the murk but they wouldn’t come out in my photos.

After a short break in the shelter I descended down the flaged path

and then at the bottom of the hill took the path heading westwards.

Approaching the ruins of Great Hill farm. You don’t see many people on this path, but there’s usually plenty of sheep!

Looking across the moor – there’s Round Loaf to the far left – which is covered with heather, although the colours haven’t come across well in the photo.

A closer view of the purple heather in bloom

After Drinkwaters, at the fork, I took the path over Wheelton Moor towards Brinscall. It’s flat level path which I think was originally constructed to allow access to the moor for grouse shooting.

They don’t do that up here any more (a good thing too), but there is clear evidence that it used to take place. Here’s an old, disused shooting butt, there’s several along the side of the track

Carrying on, looking over the moor I could just make out the distinctive shape of Pendle Hill in the distance

I descended down the narrow road towards Brinscall

but before the bottom took the left turning down the path through Wheelton Plantations.

I then followed the path along the Goyt back to White Coppice

It’s a very picturesque hamlet, but again has an industrial histrory – it was originally a mill and mining settlement.

No cricket match today

Great Hill in Winter

Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy at work and not had much opportunity to get out and about. The last two weekends have been awful with Storm Ciara and then Storm Dennis sweeping in bringing high winds and torrential rain. So plans have had to be postponed. However, a couple of weeks ago, before the storms, I did manage to get out for a walk up on the moors. I drove over to White Coppice, on the outskirts of Chorley, and set off towards the moors to climb up Great Hill.

It was a chilly, grey winter’s day and very wet and muddy underfoot. But it didn’t rain and some broke through from time to time. In any case, it’s always good to get out on the moors. They might be bleak, but I like bleak.

I passed the cricket pitch – no matches there for a while yet!

and then took the path along the Goyt towards Brinscall

On and up through Wheelton Plantations

until I emerged onto the moor

There’s a rough track across the moor, so I didn’t have to wade through mud towards the ruined farm at Drinkwater

Looking towards the summit of Great Hill from the ruins

A short climb and I reached the wind shelter on the summit where I stopped for a brew from my flask

I took the path down in the direction of Spittler’s Edge and then cut across the foot of the hill towards another ruined farm

No sheep up on the moor at this time of year. They’re all down in the fields.

I managed to take a few atmospheric shots with my phone.

I’ve never been to Howarth, but I reckon the Brontes’ “wild and windy moors” aren’t much different than up here.

Looking back towards the top of Great Hill as I descended down the very muddy path towards White Coppice, trying to avoid the worst of the slutch.

Looking over towards Anglezarke Moor

Reaching the bottom of the hill, I took a short diversion up the brook to look at the old mine workings

Rather than go straight back to my car I decided to add on a couple of miles or so to my walk by diverting through Black Coppice towards Anglezarke reservoir

There’s Waterman’s Cottage

Looking across the reservoir towards the cottage

I followed the road along the bottom of Healy Nab heading back towards my starting point. Looking back over towards the moors – the cloud was starting to clear.

The sun was out when I reached the village, it’s rays lighting up the stone of the old cottages

Back at the car I changed out of my muddy boots and trousers (fortunatelyI keep a spare pair in the boot of the car) and set off back towards Chorley and then onwards to home.

A good day on the moors.

Anglezarke Circular

The beginning of the week after my rather damp (but enjoyable) break in Borrowdale, the weather changed becoming bright and sunny. Unfortunately I couldn’t take more days off work but I did manage to finish work early on the Tuesday so that I could get out for a walk. Despite the long days, I didn’t have time to drive up to the Lake District, so decided on a walk up on the West Lancashire Moors, starting from the pleasant hamlet of White Coppice near Chorley.

For a while now I’ve had it in mind to complete a circular walk around Anglezarke Moor and the long hours of daylight meant that was going to be possible.

After parking up my car I walked past the cricket pitch

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and then started the climb up towards Great Hill

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Looking back towards White Coppice, Chorley and the Lancashire plain.

At the top of the brew, the summit of Great Hill came into view

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A couple of locals were keeping an eye on me

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I walked past the ruined farm at Drinkwaters

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Looking across the moors to Winter Hill in the south with it’s TV and communication masts

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I soon reached the summit

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and stopped a while for a snack and to take in the views. It was a little hazy so the longer range views weren’t so good, but I over to the east I could see Darwen Tower and just about make out Pendle Hill

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and there were no problems seeing Winter Hill and Rivington Pike

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On good days it’s possible to see as far as the Lakes, the Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia and the Irish Sea, but not today.

I set off along the paved path across the peat covered moorland heading south to cross Redmond Edge and Spitler’s Edge. When I used to walk over these moors as a teenager, this would have meant crossing a quagmire, even after a relatively dry spell, but some time ago the “engineered” path was laid, making this a much drier experience.

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The cotton grass (“bog cotton”) was coming into bloom

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Heading towards Spittler’s Edge

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Crossing the Edge

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Just before the Belmont Road, I turned off and started to head in a westerly direction over Anglezarke Moor

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passing the ruined farm at Hempshaw’s

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I continued across the moor

Looking back towards Redmond’s and Spitler’s Edges

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and across to Winter Hill

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Eventually, I reached Lead Mine Clough

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climbed the hill and then took the path towards Jepson’s Gate

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A short walk along the quiet road to Manor farm

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and I took the path across the field and then down to Higher Bullough reservoir

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I then took the path southwards along the much larger Anglezarke Reservoir

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Crossing the road, I followed the path parallel to the Goyt (the watercourse that connects the Roddlesworth and Anglezarke reservoirs back towards White Coppice

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Plenty of evidence of the industrial activity that took place on these moors many years ago

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Arriving back at the cricket field

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I headed back to my car for the drive home.

A fine 12 mile walk, making the most of a fine afternoon.

A Bank Holiday walk on the Moors

The May Day Bank Holiday Monday was forecast to be a scorcher so it seemed like it would be a good idea to get out on to the Moors. I drove over to White Coppice mid-morning to find that lots of other people had had a similar idea as there were cars parked everywhere in the small hamlet, but I managed to find myself a space.

Donning my boots, I set off initially walking alongside the Goyt towards Brinscall,

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after a while cutting through the woods of Wheelton Plantation and starting to climb up the hill.

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Soon I was on the open moor land and followed the path that would take me to Great Hill

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Passing the ruined farm at Drinkwaters.

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I reached the summit and stopped a little while to take in the view and grab a bit to eat and take in the view on a fine day

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I took the path that took me down the south side of the summit and then followed it along past the ruins of Great Hill farm and towards Dean Black Brook.

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I followed the path which runs roughly parallel to the brook – it was rather wet and boggy underfoot in places.

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Descending down towards White Coppice I passed a number of people picnicking beside the brook or heading in the opposite direction to myself. Many of them day trippers out enjoying the warm sunshine but not necessarily well equipped for the boggy, rough terrain underfoot. One young lady was wearing flip flops and struggling through the bogs.

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Eventually I arrived back at White Coppice. The Cricket Pavilion café was open so I bought myself a cup of tea and stopped for a while, looking over the cricket pitch

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Then it was back to the car, passing the Lodge (small reservoir that used to serve the former mill, now long gone.

P5073100.JPG It had been an enjoyable walk through varied scenery. One I’ve done many, many times. And it was a good taster for what was to come during the next few days.

Up on the moors

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Last Saturday, after a tough few days at work, I decided I needed to get out for a walk. It was a warm day and we probably haven’t got many of those left this year!

I wasn’t able to get out to the Lakes or Dales so decided on a walk closer to home. So it was off to White Coppice to set off up Great Hill and Anglezarke.  It’s a walk I’ve blogged about before but here’s a few pictures from a pleasant day up on the moors.

Starting and finishing at White Coppice near one of the lodges that used to supply water to the mill that used to be there many years ago.

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Past the picturesque cricket pitch

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Then up onto the moors

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Back on the Moors

 

Last Wednesday was the start of our mini-heatwave. I decided to finish work a little early and head off up on to the Moors for a walk. I drove over to White Coppice and parked up opposite the cricket field and then set up towards Great Hill.

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Crossing over the Goyt (the channel that takes water from the reservoir at Roddlesworth to the one at Anglezarke

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I decided to follow the path along the river

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Although a today it’s a peaceful rural hamlet on the outskirts of Chorley, White Coppice was once an industrial village and there are plenty of traces of the lead mining and quarrying that used to take place here up the clough.

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I took the path up the side of the hill up on to the moor

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and headed towards Great Hill

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Looking out over to Anglezarke. The mound of Round Loaf was visible as was the main mast on Winter Hill. Extensive cotton grass (“bog cotton”) could be seen making the moor almost look like it was covered with snow.

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There was plenty of it towards the top of Great Hill too

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Apparently it’s the official flower of Greater Manchester!

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On reaching the summit, visibility was good (much better than the last time I was here at the beginning of May). Looking north east over towards Darwen Tower and Pendle Hill

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The view towards Winter Hill

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I descended down the southern side of the prominence and then took the path west to the ruins of great Hill Farm

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and then climbed back on to the moor.

Reaching the intersection

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I decided to take the path over the top of the moor towards Brinscall

A group of lads on their D of E exhibition had strayed off their route. They should have been heading to White Coppice.

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I put them right and then carried on, passing a line of abandoned shooting buts

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There was a good view over to Darwen Tower

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After a short while I reached the path that would take me down off the moor towards Brinscall

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Rather than cut through Wheelton Plantation, I decided to walk down into the village. I skirted the old Lodge (a small reservoir that would originally have fed a mill)

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Taking the path along the Goyt back to White Coppice

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Up on the wild and windy moor ….

Bank Holiday Monday it was time to get the boots on and go for another walk. More local this time, on the West Lancashire Moors, my teenage stomping ground. And a solo walk this time. It started out overcast and certainly was “wild and windy” up on the moor, but conditions improved dramatically during the course of the afternoon and I finished the walk in pleasant, warm sunshine.

I drove over to the small hamlet of White Coppice, once an industrial settlement but now a desirable location close to Chorley. After donning my boots I set off past the cricket pitch

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and followed the Goit (a water course that takes water from the Roddlestone reservoirs across to that at Anglezarke) towards the Wheelton Plantation.

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I took the path through the woods, climbing up towards the moor land.

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I crossed over the stile and onto the moor

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It’s a bleak landscape. Very atmospheric with a wild beauty. And quiet except for the sound of the wind, the song of skylarks and the occasional bubbling cry of a curlew.

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I could see the summit of Great Hill, my first objective, rising above the plateau.

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A little later the prehistoric tumulus, Round Barrow, came into view, dominating Anglezarke Moor on the other side of the valley.

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I reached the intersection

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and carried on along the path towards Great Hill, passing the ruined farm at Drinkwaters, so named due to it’s proximity to a spring

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I spotted a monument to the Wigan fell runner Joe Whitter that wasn’t there last time I was up here

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He’d left his cup behind

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The summit was straight ahead

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Not longer after I reached the top and was glad of the shelter from the cold wind

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Visibility wasn’t too good today. I could see Darwen Tower to the east and could just about make out Winter Hill tot he south east

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but no chance of seeing the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the Lakeland fells and the Welsh mountains today (all visible on a good day).

I took the flagged path heading south

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and then turned on to the lower level path that skirts the summit,

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heading west. Reaching a ruined farm

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a short climb and I joined the main path to White Coppice

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Looking back to the summit

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The weather was improving with the sun starting to emerge from the cloud as I descended towards White Coppice

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Reaching the bottom of the hill, I was pleased to see that the cricket pavillion cafe was open – time for a brew!

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I stopped for a short rest looking over the cricket field

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before crossing back over the Goit to inspect the remains of the former quarries and mine workings

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I’d decided to extend my walk by taking the path towards Anglezarke Reservoir and then climb Healey Nab

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I took a diversion along a path tat climbed up on to the top of the hill on to the moor, from where there were god views over White Coppice

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towards Chorley and Healey Nab

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and back over the moor towards Great Hill which was now lit up by the sunshine

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There were some climbers in one of the quarries

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Some curious local residents were keeping an eye on me

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I descended back down onto the main path

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Looking back up to the hill I’d just climbedP5011400

Eventually I reached the Anglezarke to Heapey road, passing the Waterman’s Cottage

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on the shores of Anglezearke reservoir

Looking over the reservoir from the dam

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I took the path, climbing up Healey Nab. When I was a teenager we lived in a house at the other side of this small hill on the edge of Chorley. I regularly climbed it taking the family Labrador for a walk and it had to be crossed on my way to climb Great Hill or to head over to Anglezarke or Rivington. BUt I hadn’t been up it for about 40 years. It had, inevitably changed. the saplings and youg trees I remembered that had ben planted over the summit were now full grown

The flooded quarry we knew as “Bluewater” was still there

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as was “Pilkington’s pyramid”

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there were good views east over to Rivington, Anglezarke

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and Great Hill

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But the view over the town  from the summit  was obscured by the mature trees

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Back down the hill now, to return to my car

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A short walk on tarmac down a leafy, narrow lane

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and I arrived back in White Coppice

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It was now bright and sunny – quite different to when I arrived

I had a quick look around the village

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Reaching the car I changed out of my boots and set off for home. I’d walked about 9 miles over varied countryside – riverside, woodland, desolate moorland, and through fields and along leafy lanes. Plus I’d revisited some old haunts, bringing back some memories.

A walk up Great Hill

Saturday, was a decent day, the last gasp of summer, so I decided to get out on the Moors for a walk. I’ve a lot going on at work and in my personal life at the moment and there’s nothing like a bit of exercise wandering on the moors away from the hustle and bustle to give myself some time and space to think and get some things in perspective.

A relatively short drive and I was in White Coppice on the edge of the West Lancashire Moors ready to set off up Great Hill. I took a route that took me up alongside Dean Clough, joining the main path to Great Hill about half way along the main, well trodden route. After reaching the summit I headed back down via Wheelton Moor before descending and heading back to my starting point via the pleasant woodland of Wheelton Plantations.

It’s a wild area, yet only a few miles from several large industrial towns. Growing up in one of them I spent a good part of my spare time as a teenager wandering over these moors – Rivington, Anglezarke and Great Hill.

Although at first it may seem like it’s a natural wilderness the  landscape has been shaped by human hand, going right back to Neolithic times – there are burial mounds, the remnants of a long barrow and other prehistoric features on the moors – and the “Round Barrow” up  on Anglezarke was visible on the horizon for a good part of the walk. The barren hillsides would have originally been covered by trees but they have been cleared over the ages for firewood and building materials and to create terrain for sheep. And during the Industrial age the moors have been mined for lead and other minerals and the millstone grit has quarried for stone used for building and for, what else, millstones.

There were other walkers around, including a few groups of teenagers bearing heavy packs – a sure sign of Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions! But for most of the time I was able to enjoy the peace and solitude I needed to clear my head and get my thoughts together.

Anglezarke and Great Hill Circular

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After a pretty miserable start to the year the last week has seen us experiencing some good, warm, weather, with blue skies and sunshine. Having been stuck indoors for most of the week I decided to take Friday afternoon off and get out in the fresh air for a walk. I didn’t want to stray too far so drove the eight miles or so over to Anglezarke, to go for a walk on the moors that have been my stomping ground ever since I was a young teenager.

I parked up at the viewpoint overlooking Anglezarke reservoir and walked the short distance up the road to Jepson’s Gate where I was able to gain access to the moor.  Despite being surrounded by some significant towns the West Pennine moors wild and remote.

I did a favourite circular route of about 6 miles which toko me 3 hours including 3 short stops. It’s a mix of wild moorland and a walk through woodlands along the reservoir at Anglezarke. While I was up on the moor I only passed 2 people coming the opposite way but saw three curlews, a number of skylarks and plenty of sheep.

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There were more people around when I descended back into the valley to walk along the reservoir.

From Jepson’s gate

I cut across the open access path over to Pikestones, the ruins of a Neolithic long barrow.

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It can be heavy going across the peat, especially as there isn’t a properly defined path, but as there’s been very little rain of late it was quite dry underfoot.

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I then cut across the moor heading towards Round Loaf, a Neolithic round barrow  which is a dominant feature on the relatively flat moorland landscape(there are a number of prehistoric remains on the moors here).

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I climbed to the top of the mound and rested for a while. Visibility today was limited – on a good day it’s possible to see the mountains of the Lake District and Snowdonia, but it was hazy in the distance. But there were good views of Winter Hill and Rivington Pike to the south east

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and towards the summit of Great Hill to the north

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my next destination. I cut across the moor trying to follow an indistinct path. Fortunately it was dry underfoot as the peat can be quagmire. There were a few ditches and rivulets that had to be traversed.

I climbed up towards the summit and took another short break while taking in the views.

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Then I walked along the ridge and took the path that would lead down to White Coppice. I passed the ruined Drinkwaters farm (it must have been a difficult life living up here) whose only residents were sheep sheltering in the shade.

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Eventually I descended down to White Coppice, a small hamlet with a manicured cricket pitch and attractive cottages at the foot of the moors

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I took the path along the Goyt, a channel that takes water from the reservoir at Roddlesworth across to the one at Anglezarke. The landscape changed to pleasant woodland providing some welcome relief from the direct sun

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Reaching Waterman’s cottage

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a short walk along the road and I was on the path that took me along the east side of Anglezarke reservoir

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with a short diversion past the smaller Bullough reservoir

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and then through the woodland on the shore of it’s larger companion

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Then it was a short climb up the hill back to the viewpoint to rejoin the car.

The route. (Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.)